Wed, 24 Mar 1999

Bank Universal upgrades its computer system

JAKARTA (JP): Bank Universal purchased a US$2 million computer system from PT USI, the local partner of United States-based IBM, to improve its customer service, a senior executive at the bank said.

Universal's vice president, Terry Ng, said on Tuesday Bank Universal's transactions had doubled in volume over the last two years to $1.8 million.

"The new system will accommodate this increased work load."

Terry also said Bank Universal's third-party deposits increased by 61 percent to Rp 7.6 trillion (about $863 million) in 1998.

Bank Universal is one of nine private domestic banks scheduled to be recapitalized under the government's recapitalization program. Under the program, the banks' owners are required to provide 20 percent of the recapitalization funding, while the remaining 80 percent is provided by the government.

Bank president Stephen Z. Satyahadi said Bank Universal would receive at least Rp 500 billion in funds from its major shareholder, PT Astra International, to enable it to join the recapitalization program.

Stephen said the bank would need some Rp 2.4 trillion to boost its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) to the government-required 4 percent.

"The money needed for the recapitalization of Bank Universal is relatively little for parent company PT Astra International. In fact, PT Astra International has rescheduled part of its debt for an additional one to three years," Stephen said when asked if the automotive giant could meet its commitment to inject fresh equity into the bank given its debt problem.

Terry said the government's final decision on the amount of funds Bank Universal needed for recapitalization would be disclosed on April 15

"We are now being audited again by foreign auditors who are basing their audit on the revised terms and conditions issued by the government last Wednesday."

Terry said the result of the current audit would determine the cost of recapitalizing Bank Universal.

Terry said by April 21 the nine banks scheduled for recapitalization, including Bank Universal, would sign a recapitalization agreement.

After signing the agreement, Bank Universal will have a rights issue in May, according to Terry.

PT Astra International controls a 83.74 percent stake in Bank Universal. PT Prahabima holds a 3.69 percent stake in the bank and the public owns the remaining 12.57 percent. (02)